Chemistry Professor Earns 2012 Distinguished Teaching Award
The Kent State University Alumni Association honors three full-time faculty members who consistently demonstrate outstanding skills in classroom teaching every year with the Distinguished Teaching Award. This year, Associate Professor of Chemistry Alexander Seed, Ph.D., was one of the recipients of the prestigious award.
“We live in a world of six billion people where knowledgebase is massive and diverse,” says Jonathan Tietz, a doctoral student in organic chemistry/chemical biology. “As such, narrow experts are to be expected. So when an educator can surpass typecast roles and function with diversity, it’s a very refreshing and valuable thing.”
Tietz is talking specifically about Seed.
Originally from England, Seed has been teaching organic chemistry at Kent State since 1996. Seed regularly taught undergraduate organic teaching labs while studying for his doctorate in England. During that time he realized he enjoyed talking with students and explaining theories.
“For me, teaching is both a privilege and a great responsibility, and I am in a position where I can have a profound impact on the life of a student,” Seed says. “Winning the Distinguished Teaching Award was a great honor for me, and I am incredibly grateful to my students and the Alumni Association for this recognition. I feel incredibly humbled by this award and I am delighted to have been selected together with Drs. Don-John Dugas and Cynthia Barb.”
Organic chemistry has a reputation as a very difficult class. Seed is forced into a balancing act, which he navigates flawlessly.
“Organic chemistry is considered by students to be one of the most challenging areas,” Seed says. “My undergraduate courses are often taken by nonmajors, and the first thing I need to do is to engage them and impress upon them the relevance of the subject in their own lives.”
His students appreciate his genuine dedication to them.
“Dr. Seed is one of the best professors I have learned from thus far in my college education, both in and out of the classroom,” says Hannah Newhouse, senior psychology/pre-medical major. “I found that I appreciated Dr. Seed’s teaching gift even more significantly after my time in his classroom had ended.”
Seed also realizes that it is equally important to show students that he is approachable and fair so that students feel comfortable enough to come to his office for help. Students have access to 10 years’ worth of exams to better help them prepare for tests.
“By devoting my time and patience, I can convince students that I am wholly committed to their learning and success, and this is critical if I am to succeed as a teacher,” Seed says. “My job as a teacher is not simply to impart knowledge to my students, but to develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills that will serve students in other courses and their future careers, and to instill in them a lifelong love of learning.”
Seed’s colleagues praise his style of teaching and dedication to the education of Kent State students.
“I have watched him develop into a superb teacher who cares deeply about the learning of his students and is willing to do whatever it takes to help his students reach their goals,” says Paul Sampson, professor of chemistry.